Hello 2017!

My "Best Of" Ireland 2016 - Black and White

My “Best Of” Ireland 2016 – Black and White

Hello 2017!

And welcome to all of you, fellow photographers, into this new year. I hope you had a fantastic winter break! I also hope you are now ready to take your camera out again and follow me into the great journey of exploring the world around us, looking for the most breathtaking views, the cutest glimpses of our cities, the liveliest moment of our neighbourhoods, and get the most fabulous pictures out of them. Along with all the fun that photography brings, of course!

This year I’ll be focusing on Ireland, scouting both its most iconic places and its many hidden gems. The goal is to visit Irish most beautiful photographic spots and collect them all here, in a sort of simple, unpretentious guide to Ireland for photographers and photography lovers. A “drop-in” to Venice is also on the agenda. So, if you are looking for hints and tips about what to photograph in these locations stay tuned.

See you next week with our first photographic spot of the year, the Giant’s Causeway, in Northern Ireland.

 

WPC

Good Bye 2016!

My Best Ireland - 2016

My Best of Ireland – 2016

Good bye 2016, it has been fun meeting you and discovering many new places!

Now it’s time to move on. Wish you all a happy new year, full of your best images and inspiration.

Bruno

 

WPC

Lough Gill – Sligo

Lough Gill - Sligo

Lough Gill – Sligo

I have been offered the opportunity to test a landscape preset editing package, created and commercialized by “Sleeklens“, a Danish growing company specialized in products for Lightroom and Photoshop, such as presets and brushes. In particular I tried the Through The Woods bundle, designed especially for landscape photography.

I have to say that I wasn’t familiar with the use of preset bundles, and that I generally love editing my pictures myself as much as taking them, and the idea of a tool doing it all for me wasn’t so appealing. I was therefore sceptical when I approached this bundle, but I had to admit to myself that I had not posted any new picture in a while, due to lack of time. The little time I could find, I preferred to dedicate it to spot scouting and shooting, rather than to staying at home and editing.

As this was the case, my hope was to find a tool that could speed up the editing process, leaving me at the same time “in charge” of it. And I have not been disappointed.

After the initial download, thanks to clear and simple video-tutorials, in a few minutes I was ready to go. Around 50 presets were added to the presets list in the develop window and 30 new brushes were available with just one click.

My first impression has been in line with my most positive expectations, and even better.

Some of the presets are “all-in-one”, which means that applying them you’ll be able to give your picture that particular look or mood for which they have been designed. Since I like to take my pictures at dawn or sunset, I’ve particularly loved those presets dedicated to bringing out their warm colours, together with that golden glow typical of these moments of the day.

The great thing is that once you’ve applied the preset that works better for your image, you are free to “fine tune” it, operating on the single sliders, as you would have done normally. In this way you can benefit from the immediacy of the presets, without renouncing to give your images that personal touch you like.

An additional characteristic I have appreciated is the fact that you can also use “stackable” presets instead of the “all-in-one”. In this way you can apply presets that modifies just a few sliders each, and stack them one on top of the other. The result is that you operate more selectively on definite aspects such as exposure, colour, tint and vignette, mixing them as you prefer and being more in charge of the whole process.

To conclude, it has been good fun to start playing with Sleeklens bundle, trying different presets gave me some idea about how to edit an otherwise much duller image and in a few minutes I was able to finish off the process getting a new picture ready to go.

Location: Lough Gill, County Sligo, Ireland.

What to shoot: You can play with natural elements as you like. What I have done here is looking for a simple, minimalistic composition, as suggested by the stillness of the lake. Autumn leaves in the foreground, two symmetrical rows of trees in the background, and a few surfacing rocks in the middle.

Ideal time to shoot: Sunrise is my favourite. The stillness of Lough Gill at this time is something worth getting up early in the morning.

Gear: Wide angle lenses to standard zooms.

How to get there: From Sligo Take the N16 signposted Enniskillen, at the traffic lights adjacent to Sligo Institute of Technology take the R286 to Dromahair. Follow the road for approximately 3km and then turn right at the crossroads signposted Hazelwood. After about 1km turn left into the wood and continue until the road ends in a car park, where walking trails start.

Coordinates: 54°15′29″N 8°25′35″W

WPC

Athlone Bridge

Athlone Bridge

Athlone Bridge

 

Straight to the heart of Ireland. This week our photographic spot hunting leads us to the picturesque and historic town of Athlone, near the geographical centre of Ireland, known as the “gateway to the West”. The Shannon river splits this enchanting city in two, with most services and businesses on its eastern bank, while under the shadow of the medieval Castle, the western bank is rich of colourful houses, winding streets, antique shops, historic pubs and much more.

Location: Athlone, County Westmeath, Ireland.

What to shoot: During my quick visit to this medieval town I found two mainly photographic subject: Athlone Castle and the view of Ss. Peter and Paul church across River Shannon.

Ideal time to shoot: At sunrise and sunset you will get the most out of this beautiful cityscape in terms of colours and details. The “blue hour” may add that special touch with city lights starting to beam.

Gear: Wide angle lenses to standard zooms.

How to get there: Athlone lies on the way that connect Dublin to Galway. It is possible to reach Athlone by car, train or bus in around 1 hour from Galway, or 1 hour and a half from Dublin.

Coordinates: 53°25′25″N 7°56′30″W

Weekly Photo Challenge

Night Lights over Samuel Beckett Bridge

Night Lights over Samuel Beckett Bridge

Night Lights over Samuel Beckett Bridge

After a long winter hibernation it’s time to get the gear out and start photographing (and sharing) again! The goal is to do as much spot hunting as possible, take some good pictures, and share the best hints and suggestions about photographic opportunities across Ireland. Be it street life, landscape or seascape photography, the “Emerald Isle” has it all. Stay tuned not to lose next photo hints.

Location: Samuel Beckett Bridge, Dublin, Ireland.

What to shoot: Samuel Beckett Bridge is undoubtedly an architectural masterpiece, well worth a picture itself; but playing with the lights of the passing cars and buildings in the background at night-time makes the whole shooting experience a real pleasure.

Ideal time to shoot: All day long. Blue sky with scattered clouds is perfect for contrasted black and white pictures, while night is ideal for long exposure, capturing traffic light trails. My favourite time, though, is the “blue hour”, when city lights start to shine and the sky has still some contrast. You’ll need both your tripod and a ND filter to lengthen your exposure enough to catch some good traffic light trails.

Gear: Wide angle lenses to standard zooms.

How to get there: From City Quay or North Wall Quay, served by public transport (15A, 15B, 500, 501, 747).

Coordinates: 53°20′49″N 6°14′29″W

Weekly Photo Challenge

Grand Canal Dock – Dublin

The Marker Hotel - Dublin

The Marker Hotel – Dublin

Time to continue our photographic tour of Irish beauty in black and white. I was saying how modernity and ancient inheritance coexist around Ireland’s capital, Dublin, and if you fancy some architecture photography, or even some abstract photography, you are not going to be disappointed if you take a tour through Dublin’s most modern neighbourhood.

LocationGrand Canal Dock, Dublin, Ireland.

What to shoot: This modern and popular district hosts some of the most recent and bold buildings of Ireland. It is particularly busy during week days when the employees of high-tech multinationals such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Airbnb crowd its streets. Indeed this area has been rightfully dubbed “Silicon Docks”, a reference to the most famous Silicon Valley. By contrast it could appear even desolated on a Sunday morning, my favourite time to take pictures of its most daring buildings, as the characteristic Marker Hotel (in the picture), the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre (the largest theatre in Ireland) or the Alto Vetro apartment building (awarded the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland’s Silver Medal for Housing).

Ideal time to shoot: All day long, but I prefer the quiet of Sunday mornings.

Gear: Wide angle lenses to standard zooms.

How to get there: The Grand Canal Dock is served by the 15a, 15b, 120, 84N, 702 and other bus services.

Coordinates: 53°20′40″N 6°14′22″W

Weekly Photo Challenge

Samuel Beckett Bridge – Dublin

Samuel Beckett Bridge and River Liffey

Samuel Beckett Bridge and River Liffey

Let’s start a new short series of black and white pictures of the capital of Ireland. Founded as a Viking settlement, Dublin (that in Old Irish means dark pool) has grown to the rank of one of the top thirty global cities in the world, due to its importance as a centre for education, the arts, economy and industry. Modernity and ancient inheritance coexist beautifully along its streets and riverfronts, offering amazing photographic occasions to all architecture and cityscape lovers. And here we start, with a classic view of Samuel Beckett Bridge over river Liffey.

Location: Samuel Beckett Bridge, Dublin, Ireland.

What to shoot: This contemporary bridge crossing river Liffey is itself a sum of tradition and innovation. Dedicated to the Irish avant-garde novelist Samuel Beckett and designed by the creative architect Santiago Calatrava, it is a moving bridge, constituted by a main span and 31 cables, that clearly evoke the image of a harp, the national symbol for Ireland.

Ideal time to shoot: All day long. A blue sky with white scattered clouds could offer a beautiful contrast for a black and white capture.

Gear: Wide angle lenses to standard zooms.

How to get there: From City Quay or North Wall Quay, served by public transport (15A, 15B, 500, 501, 747).

Coordinates: 53°20′49″N 6°14′29″W

Weekly Photo Challenge

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